Anne Heche has been taken off life support, a family representative said, following the announcement of her death on Friday.
Heche, 53, had been severely injured in a single-vehicle car crash on 5 August, and had suffered a “severe anoxic brain injury”, according to a statement to CNN by Heche’s family. Her “brain death” was confirmed on Friday, meeting a legal definition of death in California, but it is understood life support was maintained to facilitate organ donation. A family representative said she had been “peacefully taken off life support” on Sunday.
Heche’s acting career took off in the late 1990s with prominent roles in Walking and Talking, Donnie Brasco and I Know What You Did Last Summer, before reaching the Hollywood A-list with films such as Wag the Dog, Six Days, Seven Nights (opposite Harrison Ford) and the 1998 remake of Psycho.
A relationship with Ellen DeGeneres, which began in 1997, attracted considerable media interest. Heche claimed that the relationship led to her being blacklisted in Hollywood and was fired from a $10m picture deal. On Friday, Degeneres tweeted: “This is a sad day. I’m sending Anne’s children, family and friends all of my love.”
Other stars who have paid tribute to Heche include Robert De Niro, Ed Helms, Rosanna Arquette and James Gunn.
In 2001, Heche published a memoir that claimed she had been sexually abused by her father. “I was raised in a crazy family and it took 31 years to get the crazy out of me,” she said at the time.
She was most recently in thriller The Vanished with Thomas Jane who she was in a relationship with which ended this year and legal drama series All Rise. Heche’s final finished roles include disaster film Supercell alongside Alec Baldwin and horror Full Ride with Dermot Mulroney.
Baldwin paid tribute in an Instagram video referring to her as “a very special comet shooting across the sky.”
Her family had previously made a statement to media news outlet TMZ, which said: “We have lost a bright light, a kind and most joyful soul, a loving mother and a loyal friend. Anne will be deeply missed but she lives on through her beautiful sons, her iconic body of work, and her passionate advocacy. Her bravery for always standing in her truth, spreading her message of love and acceptance, will continue to have a lasting impact.”
A recently resurfaced red carpet interview sees Heche being asked what she would like to be remembered for. “Hopefully that I made my children happy … gave them a life that they love,” she said.